Picture a muskie being caught on the Chicago lakefront.
“I had some woman come up to me with a baby to take a selfie,” Greg Remec said. “Not what you run into in the North Woods. It was just so crazy.'”
On April 8, Remec was fishing for steelhead and coho by the Adler Planetarium when he caught and released a last-cast muskie of 34-36 inches. As his parking meter expired at noon on the Museum Campus.
He started by casting spoons and hard-body baits, then switched to a Storm WildEye Swim Shad.
“Switched to that Swim Shad, hoping for smallmouth [bass],” Remec said.
On his last cast, he latched into something bigger than a smallie about 20 feet off shore. The battle raged with multiple long runs.
“I really thought I had foul hooked something, tail-hooked a carp or something,'” Remec said. “It shocked the hell out of me.”
As it should have.
“When I saw that profile, I thought, ‘That is no northern [pike], that is a muskie,'” he said. “I was just blown away.”
He had another consideration.
“I was really worried, I had got a foul in my line earlier and snipped it out and tied a blood knot,” Remec said.
His line held and fishing buddy, Joe Hansen, a friend from their University of Illinois days, landed it fine and on a video. Watch the short video here.
“By that time, we had a nice audience,” Remec said.
He lives in Naperville, but he can see where he was fishing from where he works downtown as a financial analyst.
He rushed to get the muskie released, and it swam off after a few seconds.
What does it mean?
It looks like a Great Lakes spotted muskie, Lake Michigan program manager Vic Santucci emailed. He added a note of caution.
“One fish does not a population rebound make,” he emailed. “My best guess is that this muskie is traveler from somewhere in the Great Lakes, possibly Green Bay.”
Or an escapee from a stocked inland lake.
“A third option would be an illegal stocking of spotted muskie fingerlings in the lake or a tributary to the lake,” Santucci emailed. “Personally, I don’t believe any of our angler groups would do something like that. They understand the low forage issues that we are dealing with in Lake Michigan, which makes adding a new predator species a poor idea right now.”
Add muskie to an all-time fishing spring on the Chicago lakefront.
IN MEMORY: A celebration of Mike Repa, long-time counterman at Park Bait, will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at JourneyCare Atrium in Glenview. Eulogy begins at 3 p.m.
MAKING WAVES: WTTW re-airs the Bill Kurtis-narrated “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes” at 3-5 p.m. Sunday on WTTW-HD. It reruns in two parts at 4-5 p.m. on April 25 and 26 on WTTW Prime, and again back-to-back from 3-5 a.m. April 30 on WTTW-HD.
WILD THINGS: Wild asparagus, goslings, morels, blooming lilacs and wild flowers, what a week outside. I’m sure Brian Schlenger and I were not the only ones to double down Monday on morels and wild asparagus, earliest ever for both of us. His find starts Morel of the Week on Sunday.
STRAY CAST: Maybe Spro can come up with a Cubs World Series commemorative frog: You know, two-faced with tiny diamonds for eyes, ready to be hopped or pulled back.